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Sunday, November 27, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
Twelve years ago…
“You stay alert now, boy.”
Brett nodded, glancing over at his father, sitting next to him in the camouflage tent. He took a swig of beer, and Brett averted his eyes.
A snapping sound to his left caught Brett’s attention and he looked over to catch sight of a doe. It sauntered near the edge of the clearing he and his father were watching. It grazed on some leaves from some brush, oblivious to the danger it was in.
Brett’s heart immediately began to thump furiously in his chest.
The doe was beautiful, with large black eyes, and muscles that moved just beneath a coat of velvety brown fur. It was graceful and lovely. It didn’t seem right to kill a creature so pure.
“I don’t think we’re going to catch any deer today, Pa,” Brett said loudly, hoping to startle the doe away.
“Not with you yammering on like that, we won’t,” his father muttered. “But we came out here to make a man out of you, and that’s what we’re gonna do, if we have to stay out here all damn week. You hear me, boy? You’re returning home a man, with your first kill in hand.”
“A man,” Brett repeated automatically, two worlds at war with one another inside him. On one hand, he wanted to please his father. More than anything, he wanted his acceptance. He wanted to make him proud, to have his father look at him like he looked at his brother. But on the other hand, there was the doe. Not just the one doe, but many other animals he would be forced to snuff out for the sake of pleasing his father. Yes, they would make use of the animal. They would eat its meat, maybe sell its coat. But he would have to kill it. And he didn’t want to do that.
“There,” his father breathed, slapping Brett lightly on the shoulder. “See that there? Didn’t have to wait too long after all.”
Brett swallowed hard as he watched the deer saunter into the meadow. For a moment, the doe looked around warily, suspiciously, like it knew they were there.
Bolt, Brett pleaded silently. Go away, and never return.
But the doe seemed satisfied that it was in no real danger, and returned to grazing, head down.
“Just like I showed you now,” his father whispered. “Nice and easy.”
Brett breathed deeply and held the hunting rifle to his eyes. He had the doe in his sights.
After a moment, his father sniffed. “What are you waiting for? We ain’t got all day here. Shoot it before it gets spooked.” He grabbed Brett’s arm roughly. “I didn’t raise no mamma’s boy. You ain’t no faggot, are you? Shoot that doe down, and do it now.”
“Yes, sir,” Brett managed. He let out another deep breath and got the doe in his sights again. His hands shook slightly under his fingers.
“That’s it,” his father instructed softly. “Now, just squeeze the trigger.”
Brett intentionally let his rifle slide just to the left of the doe, and squeezed the trigger.
The shot went wide, sending up a spray of dirt near the doe’s head and startling it. In the blink of an eye, the doe had darted away.
“God damn, mother fucker!” Brett’s father raged, jumping to his feet and swatting his baseball cap against the tent walls.
“I’m sorry,” Brett said weakly.
“Sorry? You’re sorry?” Brett’s father grabbed him by the front of the shirt. “We are going to sit here until you bag us a deer. You hear me? Or are you some kind of lily-livered faggot?”
“No, sir. No,” Brett cried, struggling weakly against his father’s iron grip.
Brett’s father shoved him to the ground in disgust.
“Next time,” his father spat. “Your aim will be true, or you ain’t no son of mine.”
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Fourteen years ago…
It was snowing.
Natalia should have been cold, but she wasn’t. She was disoriented. The snow layered everything in white. Everywhere she looked, it was white. She couldn’t see any paths in the forest anymore.
She stopped and looked up, snowflakes falling fast around her. Some landed on her face, but she didn’t mind as they melted against her warm flesh. Tree branches were covered in snow, and some sagged under the weight until it was too much and the snow rolled off in clumps, the limbs bouncing back up again like springs.
She was supposed to be looking for something, she knew. If anything went wrong, she was supposed to look for…a circle? She frowned. She couldn’t remember. Her head was swimmy. She put a small hand to her forehead and grunted at the pain the touch caused her. She looked down at her hand, slick with crimson. It was thick and dark and dripped from her fingers into the snow at her feet. She stared at the red in the snow for a moment, mesmerized, and then turned her attention to a sound in the distance. A rumble.
Cocking her head curiously, Natalia watched twin lights swing over her as they rounded a curve. The lights stopped and the rumble grew louder for a moment before it stopped.
She had to…find a circle. A ring. A hoop? She couldn’t be discovered. That would be bad. Or did she want to be found? Her vision grew hazy for a moment and angry red and black spots swarmed before her eyes like a swarm of bees.
Natalia blinked until the spots faded and her surroundings came into focus again. She stared at a woman in a gray wool coat and a fuchsia scarf. She was peering down at Natalia through glasses with a concerned expression on her face. Her glasses…were round. Perfect circles.
Natalia sagged with relief, slumping against the woman’s legs. She was so tired. She just wanted to sleep. And now that she’d found the circles, she could rest.
“Honey, are you alright?” the woman asked, holding her up. “You’re bleeding. Are you alone out here?” She looked around, blinking into the surrounding darkness, before returning her gaze to Natalia. “You’re ice cold.” She pulled off her coat and threw it over Natalia’s shoulders. “Come along. I’ll see that you find your parents. Come sit in front of the heater.”
Natalia followed numbly, wondering what the woman was talking about. She had done what she’d been asked. It was time for her to rest.
All she wanted was rest.
Sunday, November 06, 2016
Doctor Strange opens up this weekend at the box office, so what better time to take a look at my favorite magic users from the Marvel Universe?
1. Amanda Sefton (Daytripper, Magik)
2. Magik (Illyana Rasputin)
3. Selene (The Black Queen)
4. Daimon Hellstrom (Son of Satan)
5. Margali Szardos
Friday, November 04, 2016
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
"Agent Ross will stop at nothing to track down Krystal and The Athena Corps. But Ross has been exposed to the hunters under her command, and Natalia and Brett struggle with what to do with the information at the same time as they must confront truths about themselves that have come to light. Meanwhile, a series of events draws the hunters closer to a confrontation in Japan, where mysterious experiments could have dire consequences for everyone."